Study: 12 Coloradans Die Each Summer in Teen Crashes

New AAA data examines fatal teen crash rates during the summer from 2008 to 2018.

Traffic Safety

DENVER (May 28, 2020) – Over the past ten years, more than 120 people were killed on Colorado roadways in crashes involving teen drivers during the "100 Deadliest Days," the period between Memorial Day and Labor Day. That's the takeaway from a new AAA study that found that, nationwide, more than 8,300 people died in teen-related summertime crashes from 2008 to 2018. That's more than seven people a day each summer. 

“The last decade of data show that teens, simply put, crash more than adults – and that summertime marks an increase in fatal teen crashes,” said Skyler McKinley, director of public affairs for AAA Colorado. "Per our analysis, for every mile driven, new drivers between the ages of 16 and 17 are three times more likely to be involved in a deadly crash than adults." 

According to the AAA Foundation Traffic Safety Culture Index, about 72 percent of teen drivers between 16 and 18 admitted to having engaged in at least one of the following risky behaviors in the past 30 days: 

  • Driving 10mph over the speed limit on a residential street (47%)
  • Driving 15mph over the speed limit on a freeway (40%)
  • Texting while driving (35%)
  • Red-light running (32%)
  • Aggressive driving (31%)
  • Drowsy driving (25%)
  • Driving without a seatbelt (17%)

"Fundamentally, parents are the best line of defense to keep everyone safe behind the wheel," McKinley said. "It's important to educate teens about the dangers of distracted driving, speeding, and the impairing effects of alcohol and marijuana. But that's not enough: Parents need to refrain from engaging in risky driving behaviors to demonstrate just how serious these issues are."

Summer 2020 has the potential to prove particularly deadly for teens, with schools closed, activities curtailed, summer jobs canceled, and COVID-19 restrictions gradually lifting. To keep roads safer this summer, AAA encourages parents to: 

  • Talk with teens early and often about abstaining from dangerous behavior behind the wheel, including speeding, impairment, and distracted driving.
  • Teach by example, and minimize risky behavior when driving. 
  • Establish a parent-teen driving agreement that sets family rules for teen drivers.
  • Conduct at least 50 hours of supervised driving practice with their teen. 

To support parents in conducting practice driving sessions during COVID-19 and beyond, AAA is providing a free four-page guide to help parents coach their teens on how to drive safely. “Coaching Your New Driver – An In-Car Guide for Parents” offers behind-the-wheel lesson plans, including a variety of “DOs and DON’Ts” to make the learning experience as helpful as possible.  For parents, the guide can be beneficial as they coach their teens on a variety of routes, building on their formal behind-the-wheel training. has a variety of tools to help prepare parents and teens for the dangerous summer driving season. The online AAA StartSmart Parent Session also offers excellent resources for parents on how to become effective in-car coaches as well as advice on how to manage their teen’s overall driving privileges. Teens preparing for the responsibility of driving should enroll in a driver education program that teaches how to avoid driver distraction and other safety skills. Parents can find a driving school they can trust at

About the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety
Established in 1947 by AAA, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety is a not-for-profit, publicly funded, 501(c)(3) charitable research and educational organization. The AAA Foundation’s mission is to prevent traffic deaths and injuries by researching their causes and by educating the public about strategies to prevent crashes and reduce injuries when they do occur. This research is used to develop educational materials for drivers, pedestrians, bicyclists and other road users. Visit


About AAA – The Auto Club Group

The Auto Club Group (ACG) is the second-largest AAA club in North America with more than 14 million members across 14 U.S. states, the province of Quebec and two U.S. territories. ACG and its affiliates provide members with roadside assistance, insurance products, banking and financial services, travel offerings and more. ACG belongs to the national AAA federation with more than 60 million members in the United States and Canada. AAA’s mission is to protect and advance freedom of mobility and improve traffic safety. For more information, get the AAA Mobile app, visit, and follow us on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.